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An amazing time
Flew in to Miami Saturday evening and stayed at La Quinta Inn East. They offer a complimentary shuttle from airport to hotel as well as hotel to pier.
We had read that you can each bring on 12 cans of pop, as well as a bottle of wine in our carry on luggage. We took advantage of both as the extra charges really add up when you order drinks on board. (don't forget the cork screw).
The food was great. We had been booked under the 'Any time' dining in the Golden dining room. That turned out good, because some days we just weren't hungry at 6pm, and preferred to wait a little. The only downside is that you don't get to know your servers since you are often sitting at different tables.
Had breakfast in the dining room only once. Preferred the buffet for breakfast and lunch (on at sea days), and the dining room for dinner. Food was always great.
Rooms were big enough and were always clean.
The shows were okay. Loved the Illusionist and Hypnotist. More
The rest were just okay. Liked having comedians on board, but as always, some are better than others.
Didn't like the $20 cost for Bingo. Sure the prizes are big, but $20 for 3 short games? Liked it better years ago when you could play for less and for longer, just for the fun of it.
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Port and Shore Excursions
Booked Cave Tubing through Island Marketing - Belize Cruise Excursions. You pay a deposit for the reservation, and the remainder in cash when you arrive. The bus ride was enjoyable, as they gave you a tour while you were heading out. There was a stop at a local variety store where we picked up some cheap beer and water. Washrooms were available at the starting point. If you don't have water shoes, they can be rented for $3 each. Highly recommend it. You have to wander through streams and in to the jungle for about 40 minutes before you get to the starting point. And it does rain in the rain forest! The tubing part was great ... such a different experience. There are some points where the water is low, and if you sit too low, you have to get out and walk. Our guides were much more animated than some of the other groups. They made it fun for everyone. At the end, they give you some lunch, and a drink before heading back. Yes they make sure you get back in time, because their reputation is at risk if they don't. I recommend this excursion.
Two of our adult kids went on the ship excursion to see the Mayan ruins in Tulum and really enjoyed it. It was very hot ... bring water and don't forget your hat. The beach/water was great for after the ruins part. They also stopped at a ship recommended restaurant to grab a bite to eat, as the tour only gives you a pouch of peanuts. They raved about the quesadillas. My kids recommend this excursion.
The rest of us took a taxi ($13 each way) to Paradise beach. Paid $2 each to use the facilities (washrooms, pool, beach chairs, beach), but didn't pay the extra for the water toys (climbing 'rock' on the water, slide, etc.). Still were able to pick up drinks at the bar, and also grab some food. Everything was very clean, and the pool water was great. Our daughter was also able to do the parasailing and loved it. I recommend this excursion.
Booked a snorkeling/stingray excursion with Moby Dick Tours. No deposit was required. Paid cash when we arrived. The van ride out to the snorkeling boat didn't take too long. Wished the driver had given us a 'tour' along the way. The snorkeling wasn't as good as it was years ago. The big attraction was the sting rays on the sand bar. Our guides were really knowledgeable. They gave us a great explanation on what to expect, and were great at helping us have an amazing experience with the sting rays. Since they limit the number of people they take, it was easy for everyone to have that great experience. This is exactly what they advertise. We opted to be dropped off at The Beach (7 mile beach). Food was expensive but good. For $2.50 US each, you can take the BUS (which is a 12 seater van) back to the pier. I recommend this excursion.
Booked Canopy Zip Lining through Island Marketing - Roatan Cruise Excursions (South Shore Zip Lining). Paid a deposit up front, and then the remainder in cash when we checked it. The only excursion company allowed in the pier area belongs to the owner of the land. The other excursion companies have to wait outside the gates. It's a short walk, so no big deal. Once again, had a great driver that told us all about Roatan as we were driving out. Stopped along the way to see great views. The South Shore Zip lining has 14 platforms, and it's always over lush vegetation (no barren land). This was my favourite excursion. When done, you can hold some monkeys they have there. After, we opted to go for the optional beach stop. Great beach, warm water, however we think that this is where we got bitten. Not sure if it was the ants or if there were sand flies. The bites were gone the next day. We left the beach with plenty of time to shop at the pier before heading back on the boat. I recommend this excursion.